7 Tips for staying on track during the holidays

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We are now in the middle of the holiday season which means holiday treats, multi-course meals, desserts, and alcohol.

These are certainly things to enjoy this time of year but by enjoying too much of these things we can easily take steps in the wrong direction when it comes to our health, weight, and fitness.

This is why most Americans gain 1-5lbs over the next few weeks alone.

DSC is here to help!

What I want you to know is that you can and should enjoy the holidays, the great food, and company. What I also want you to know is that you can enjoy the holidays and take action towards your overall health and fitness goals at the same time.

This year, you don’t have to wait until January to get started. Imagine the progress you could make and the momentum you could build heading into 2024 by getting started now!

Today we’re covering 7 tips for helping you stay on track around the holidays. 

These 7 tips are for those looking to stay on track during the holidays and for those ready to get started.

Enjoy and happy holidays! 

1| Set realistic expectations

The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed. This rings true this year more than ever. 

Going into the holiday season it’s important to understand that your nutrition and fitness might not be perfect and this is ok. If you’re someone who’s in a consistent workout and/or nutrition routine or someone that’s looking to get started, it is important to set goals for this time of year but make sure they’re realistic. 

Is this going to be the month you lose 20 pounds, and completely stick to your diet and fitness plan? Maybe. But maybe not, and that is ok. 

What we don’t want to do is create unattainable expectations for the month, just to set ourselves up for failure.

Instead, if you’re working to lose weight, maybe you’re ok with maintaining your weight while sticking to your workout routine.

If you’re just getting started with a fitness routine, set the goal of working out 2-3x/week vs. everyday with the busyness of the holiday season. 

Create realistic fitness and nutrition goals for the next month, enjoy the holiday season, and be excited to ramp things up in the new year. 

2| Stick to the 80/20 rule

One way to enjoy the holiday season is to stick the 80/20 rule. 

80% of the week, you stick to your fitness and diet plan. This means your routine and eating habits don’t change. Crush your workouts or walks, cook your meals from home, sleep well, and hydrate.

20% of the time enjoy your holidays, that dessert, or beverage you want.

This 80/20 works well to keep us on track but also allows us to enjoy the time spent with our families and the foods we love. 

It seems like during the holidays there are work events, dinners, or not so healthy foods available at all times. It’s important to prioritize these events to keep us on track but still enjoy our holiday season.

One way to do this is to map out your calendar. If you know you have a work event or dinner planned map it out on the calendar. If you find you have a lot of these planned, pick the ones that you want to enjoy a little more and allow yourself to do so. By prioritizing you can stay more on track.

3| Enjoy it and move on

Once you enjoy your 20%, simply move on. 

This is where a lot of us get stuck. It’s crucial to not beat yourself up mentally, think you’re now “off track”, or have failed in some way.

These thoughts can easily lead to “screw it, I’ve ruined my progress” and then you ditch your routine. 

This holiday season, understand that it’s part of the plan. Be kind to yourself and enjoy the 20% and move on back to the 80%. 

This will allow you to enjoy the holidays but also to keep you away from constantly starting and stopping and moving in the right direction. 

4| Create a successful environment (make it easier for yourself)

One way to stay on track this holiday season is to make healthy eating and your workouts incredibly easy to access.

Let’s start in the kitchen.

There is an unwritten rule of the kitchen that states: if it’s in your kitchen, you or someone you love is going to eat it. More often than not, it’s going to be you. 

If there are certain foods that tempt you and you tend to lean on during times of boredom or stress like high-sugar snacks, get rid of them. You can’t eat that container of ice cream unless it’s in your house.

Another thing you can do is make these tempting foods hard to get to.

Simply placing these foods in the highest cupboard or at the back of the fridge will help reduce the chances of you eating them.

Next, make it EASY to get to the healthy foods. Doing things like meal prepping 1-2x/week and having your healthy breakfasts, lunches, and/or dinners ready will ensure you’re getting those great meals in instead of take-out, skipping meals, or grabbing the quickest option.

Speaking of quickest options, make the quickest option the easiest to grab and eat or to cook with. Keep your healthy foods and snacks front and center on your kitchen counter and in the fridge. 

Here are some great options:

For cooking meals: 

  • Cut up vegetables
  • Lean protein sources 
  • Eggs
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Mixed greens (for salads)
  • Lower fat deli meat
  • Low-carb wraps

For snacks: 

  • Cut up fruit
  • String cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Low carb protein bars
  • Beef jerky
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Rice cakes
  • Protein smoothie

Click below for 8 delicious smoothie recipes!

8 Protein Smoothies You're Going to LOVE!

8 Protein Smoothies You’re Going to LOVE!


5| Get your 30+ min of exercise in 

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More now than ever, it is crucial to keep getting your workouts in and staying active. 

This is so important for both our minds and our bodies. 

Working out helps to relieve stress and anxiety, keeping our minds calm through this tough time. 

It also keeps us fit and healthy boosting our immune system, building muscle, and burning fat. 

This time of year is where we typically see movement and exercise start to decrease, while eating increases. This is how the holiday pounds start to increase.

Having trouble getting the motivation to get them done? 

Join a fitness community like DSC! We have both coach-led classes here at DSC and an entire online fitness program you can start right from home! Click HERE to learn more!

Grab a workout buddy and video chat while doing the workout together. Get the family involved and have your significant other and/or kids try the workout with you. It is always more fun to work out together, plus the other members of your family will gain the same benefits of getting their exercise in and burning some energy! 

Keep our first step (progress not perfection) in mind when it comes to your fitness routine: something is better than nothing. 

If you don’t have time for a full workout do part of one. Go for a daily walk or jog. Do the best you can with what space and equipment you have available. 

Your workouts don’t have to be perfect for you to enjoy the benefits. The point is just to MOVE. 

Aim for at least 30-minutes of deliberate movement a day! 

6 | Eat slow and until 80% full

The two most effective holiday eating tips are also the simplest. 

First, eat slow.

When we eat too fast or while we are distracted, we consume too much. Do this often and you have a recipe for weight gain. Instead, during this holiday season, eat SLOW. 

This does a couple things. First, your brain and stomach take time to match up. In fact, it takes about 20 minutes for our stomach to let our brain know we are full. When we eat too fast we don’t give our body enough time to sense that we are full. This causes us to continue to eat past the point of us being satisfied and our calories continue to climb. 

Secondly, eating slow allows you to slow down and actually enjoy the food you are eating. I find this key during those 20% meals and snacks. If you’re going to eat them, you should really enjoy them! It’s a win-win. You eat less, but enjoy the foods you’re eating more. 

Your next eating tip is to stop eating when you’re 80% full. This too helps with the time it takes for us to know we’ve eaten enough. 

Instead of eating until the plate is clean, stop eating when you feel about 80% full. 

This keeps you mindful throughout your meal and allows you to check in with yourself, not overeat and get to that “stuffed/overfed” feeling. 

7| Hydrate


Drinking enough water is going to be one of your biggest assets this holiday season. 

Being properly hydrated is so important for almost every process in our body. 

Not drinking enough water will cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Decreased cognitive function
  • Decreased workout performance 
  • Increased hunger (we often confuse hydrate cues for hunger cues)
  • Increased joint pain and stiffness
  • Poor recovery 

How about water’s impact on weight loss? Did you know the average American takes in 400 calories through beverages every day? This is an absolute recipe for weight gain. 

One simple yet incredibly effective thing you can do to improve your health and fat-loss is to avoid calorie-filled beverages like soda, juices, energy & sport drinks, and alcohol. They provide no nutritional value and just add to our daily calorie count. Substituting water for those high-calorie drinks is an absolute game changer for your health and fat-loss.

Here’s a few tips to improve your water intake and health this holiday season.

1) Aim to consume at least 64oz of water each day

2) Track it

Use a refillable water bottle and keep track of how much you’ve consumed each day.

3) Drink 1-2 glasses of water before each meal and snack

The research on drinking water before each meal and snack is very clear. Simply drinking 2 cups of water will help shred fat. Drinking water will help you feel more full during your meal and help you avoid overeating.

One study split dieters into 2 groups. They put each group on the same diet but had 1 group drink 2 glasses of water before each meal. At the end of the study, the group that drank the water lost 3x as much weight as the control group. 

Ready to get a head start on your 2024 health and fitness goals?

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